Saul Nash and MmusoMaxwell Are International Woolmark Prize 2022 Winners

Words by The Folklore Team

Saul Nash (second from left) and MmusoMaxwell (center and left) win the International Woolmark Prize 2022

At an event held in London on Tuesday 26 April, the International Woolmark Prize 2022 was awarded to British designer Saul Nash, while the South African duo behind MmusoMaxwell won the Karl Lagerfeld Award for Innovation.

Nash’s winning collection was celebrated for its use of merino wool in creating functional activewear pieces. The capsule collection, which included some looks from his AW22 collection “Ritual”, featured modern interpretations of classic outerwear, sportswear fashioned from knits instead of technical fabric and hybrid sports-knit pieces.

Founded in London in 2018, the eponymous brand is known for its sports-inspired menswear that allows for movement and expression. As this year’s Prize winner, Nash also took home AUD $200,000, which he says he will use to expand his team and support his growing label.

“Words cannot describe what this means to me,” Nash said after he won. “In such a short space if time I am so grateful for what I have gained in the past eight months. This really is the cherry on top for everything Woolmark has done for me.”

Nash, who was announced as one of seven finalists last year along with Ahluwalia, EGONLAB, Jordan Dalah, MmusoMaxwell, Peter Do and RUI, was crowned the winner by an esteemed jury that included supermodel Naomi Campbell, British Vogue’s Edward Enninful, Burberry designer Riccardo Tisci and Dazed editor-in-chief Ibrahim Kamara.

“Everyone did a great job and could have been a winner,” said Tisci at the event. “But what Saul did, coming from a ballet background to replace Lycra with wool was really incredible.”

Also recognized alongside Nash were fellow finalists Mmuso Potsane and Maxwell Boko of MmusoMaxwell, who won the Karl Lagerfeld Prize for innovation and AUD $100,000.

“Winning means everything to us,” the duo said after the announcement. “It allows us to continue working with artisans and to further explore with merino wool, which is fantastic for us. It’s mind-blowing.”

The South African designers won for their collection of artisanal pieces, which are created in a slow, small-batch process that emphasizes traditional African craftsmanship and product traceability. The jury applauded the duo for their passion and committed to introducing a new skillset to manufacturers in their homeland.

“I love what MmusoMaxwell is doing and how they explain their work,” shared Carine Roitfeld, jury member and founder of CR Fashion Book. They have a dream and what they are doing is not just for South Africa, but for a modern, western woman. I think Karl would have loved to have spoken with them today and am sure he would be very happy to give this award to them.”

The International Woolmark Prize, which has been awarded to Giorgio Armani, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld in the past, is regarded as one of the leading talent incubation programs, crossing borders and cultures to discover, nurture and celebrate outstanding talents who showcase the beauty and versatility of merino wool.

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